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Meet the Parisian Design Duo Behind Portofino’s Splendido Mare Hotel

“It’s like a postcard,” says Hugo Sauzay, one half of the Parisian design duo Festen, describing Splendido Mare, the beloved Belmond hotel in Portofino. “You’re on a pier in Italy, you close your eyes, people are shouting, waves are crashing.” That was a feeling he and Charlotte de Tonnac, his partner in business and life, embraced when updating the iconic property, situated in a 1930s building with just 14 guest rooms.

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Traditional marquetry in a rope motif, swirling terra-cotta floor tiles, and vintage Italian heirlooms by Gio Ponti and Paolo Buffa quietly blend, creating interiors that nod to the 1950s dolce vita and the port’s humble origins as a fishing village. Conjuring a mood is a specialty for the couple, who met at Paris’s École Camondo and landed their first residential project before graduating. “With every project, we try to create an atmosphere,” says de Tonnac, alluding to past hospitality hits like Le Pigalle in Paris and Les Roches Rouges on the Côte d’Azur, both of which exude a casual, been-there-forever cool.

Custom terracotta tiles swirl across the lobby floor.
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(Upcoming projects include a five-star hotel in a 16th-century Nice convent and private residences in London and New York.) “The biggest compliment we can receive is ‘It looks like it’s been there for 20 years.’ ”

Via Architectural Digest

Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey
Joyce Rey

Joyce Rey is one of the most respected names in luxury real estate worldwide, having represented some of the most significant properties in the world.



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